If you missed part one, go here.
A gnat and a blue whale have more in common than Bermuda and the US do.
US: There are fast food joints on every corner, and frequently there are long lines in the drive-thru.
Bermuda: Not only are there no fast food joints, there are no chain restaurants of any kind. There used to be a McDonald's on the US Navy base on the island. On Wednesday nights they would open it up for civilians. The base has since closed. No more Happy Meals in Bermuda.
US: Many stores are open 24/7. It is rare to find a store that isn't open on Sunday.
Bermuda: The island shuts down on Sunday. Better have your shopping done by 5:00 Saturday. Most stores don't stay open past 6:00 any day of the week.
US: We Americans expect stellar service in a very quick fashion. If we have to wait more than 30 minutes for an oil change, we get perturbed.
Bermuda: Bermudians don't know the meaning of the word "hurry". Our scooter was in the shop once. It was supposed to be fixed on Thursday. I called a few times on Thursday to see what time I could pick it up, but never got anyone to answer the phone. I finally talked to someone on Friday morning. I was told the guy who has the key to the shop wasn't feeling well on Thursday, and the other guy didn't want to drive all the way out to get the key, so they didn't open. Two things to note in that story:
1. The island is only 25 miles end to end. The shop is in the middle of the island. The drive to the key would be less than 10 miles.
2. He actually told me the lame reason!! Other Bermudians would have completely agreed with his logic. Which leads me to...
US: Relatives are required to attend each and every holiday, birthday party, and not-so-special occasion if they live within a three hour drive.
Bermuda: Not so much. I worked with a Bermudian who hadn't seen her sister in an entire year. Her sister lived on the east side of the island. This was not an unusual situation.
US: Lots and lots of people move to the US every year, all with varying degrees of wealth.
Bermuda: Non-Bermudians can only buy houses that cost more than a million dollars. No joke.
US: People seem to get visas left and right for school and work.
Bermuda: They are very protective of their work permits. (There are no school visas, as there is only one small little college.) Any position not filled by a Bermudian must go up as an open position every three years. If a qualified Bermudian wants the job, the Bermudian gets it. An example: A teacher taught in a school for 15 years, but when her position came up, a qualified Bermudian wanted it. The teacher lost her work permit.
US: Marketing and billboards and commercials and salespeople hit us from every angle all the live long day.
Bermuda: Billboards are against the law. While we lived there, a pizza place had to take its sign down because it was too flashy. It was a simple white and red sign, no lights, on the side of the building that basically said, "Pizza" and the phone number of the place. The only advertising tourist attractions are allowed to do is place pamphlets in hotel or cruise ship lobbies. You will never have someone approach you to sell something. In Caribbean islands, a tourist is bombarded with a constant stream of locals trying to hock their wares. That will never happen in Bermuda.
US: Unemployment hovers around high single digit percentages, representing millions of people. Each and every city has people begging for cash.
Bermuda: When we were there, 317 Bermudians were without jobs. And not one person was begging for anything.
US: The FDA, CDC, and myriad other agencies keep a tight reign on medicine and food and scores of other things allowed in our country.
Bermuda: They make sure no dirt comes in our out of Bermuda on people's shoes. The medical differneces didn't hit me until I had to go to the hospital. I crashed on our scooter (which led to it being in the shop from above story) and really tore up the left side of my body, especially my leg, shoulder, and hand. In triage, waiting to be seen, a nurse came over with some gauze and said, "The sight of your wounds is making some other patients sick, so I'm going to cover you up a bit." I would have been offended if I didn't agree completely. (I held my hand palm up, as there was so much bleeding and oozing. It actually looked like a greasy pizza.)
Once I got back to the exam room, the doctor (I think it was a doctor. Can't be sure.) took a gander at my wounds, then opened up a big plastic container. She told me to prop my hand up on the table, then proceeded to pour the liquid over my hand. OH.MY.HEAVENS. it hurt. Worse than the actual accident. Then she poured it all over my leg wounds. I might have screamed. Wished I could have passed out. I was bandaged up and sent on home with instructions to bathe the wounds in Mercurochrome a few times a day. The FDA banned Mercurochrome at about the same time it was being poured all over my body.
US: Pringles are the fancy chips.
Bermuda: Pringles are the cheap chips. It is the only time in our first 10 years of marriage that we were able to afford Pringles. Everything in Bermuda is expensive, seeing as there is very little grown or made in Bermuda. Everything is shipped. Pringles are nice and compact, which makes for easy shipping. Basically, they cost the same as they did in our Arkansas Piggly Wiggly. (We lived in Little Rock for 6 months before being shipped off to Bermuda.)
I think that's enough Bermuda talk for one day. It's nice to think back on our time there, but when I am sitting under two blankets, looking at the ice on our windows, too much Bermuda talk starts to become depressing.
If you like this little series, let me know.
If you have any questions about our time there, let me know.
If you would like for me to stop, for Pete's sake, stop talking about our glory days, please let me know.
Have a lovely day!